The objective of the Agribusiness Innovation Grant (AIG) is to encourage and support industry sectors and businesses to develop and implement innovative solutions to assist with transformational change within agribusiness value chains. The focus of the AIG grant is the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors.

Agribusiness Innovation Grants provide an opportunity for applicants to:

  • Pursue ‘on the edge’ ideas that can transform a business or industry;
  • Speed up innovation and respond quickly to opportunities that are driven by new ideas or insight arising from the marketplace;
  • Facilitate linkages between innovative New Zealand researchers, producers, processors and marketers;
  • Gain a better understanding of world class best practices; and
  • Promote industry led innovation and collaboration linking science, producers, processors and marketers;
  • Develop and evaluate innovative ideas to a stage where they can attract other investment for further development through to commercialisation.

Investments made in Agribusiness Innovation Grants are targeted in areas that encourage and support innovative solutions that benefit the food and fibres sector.

Agribusiness Innovation Grants are available in the following two categories:

  1. AIGs project cost less than $30k: This grant is for projects looking for seed funding to undertake preliminary investigation or demonstration of an idea/concept.  Examples include research aimed at seeking solutions to problems identified, proof of concept, validating claims of efficacy for an untested product and/or practice.  Co-investment for projects with a total project cost of $30,000 (Incl. GST) or less, are not required.
  2. AIGs project cost greater than $30k: Grants of up to $200,000 are available for businesses, researchers and industry groups to develop and evaluate innovative ideas to a stage where they can attract other funding for further development through to commercialisation.   Co-investment for projects with a total project cost greater than $30,001 the applicant must provide a minimum cash or co-invested contribution of at least 40% of the total project costs as an indication of commitment to the project.

Who can apply

The applicant must be involved in New Zealand’s agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors with a project that will benefit the New Zealand agribusiness Sector. AGMARDT’s Trustees will consider the makeup and capability of the Group to deliver on the project plan and project objectives. If the applicant is an industry body, a sub-committee of active members must be established to oversee the project.

FAQs for Agribusiness Innovation Grants

What’s the maximum I can apply for under the Agribusiness Innovation Grant (AIG)?

Up to $200,000 (GST inclusive) but you will be required to complete the AIG application form for project costs greater than $30,000

When should I apply for a <$30k Agribusiness Innovation Grant (AIG)?

  • When a project is at early concept stage particularly if there’s a question mark over whether an idea will work
  • Where a project might be stuck in one part of the process and funding might help to unlock it
  • No co-funding requirement
  • Apply for this grant if the TOTAL project cost is less than $30k (GST inclusive)

When should I apply for a $30k+ Agribusiness Innovation Grant (AIG)?

  • If there’s confidence / evidence a concept will work
  • If there’s a known, clearly developed programme of work
  • If the TOTAL project cost is more than $30k (GST inclusive). Even if you’re applying for less than $30k from AGMARDT you must still apply for a $30k+ grant
  • The applicant / group can provide a minimum cash or co-funded contribution of at least 40% of the TOTAL project cost

What level of co-funding is required?

  • <$30k – no co-funding
  • $30k+ – at least 40% of TOTAL project costs

Can I apply for <$30k AIG even if my total project is more than $30k?

  • AGMARDT wants to understand the TOTAL size of the project (how big it is) and the structure to ensure it will be successful (e.g. governance, co-funding checks for audit)
  • You can request less than $30k from AGMARDT, but if your TOTAL project cost is more than $30k you must apply for $30k+ AIG and follow the guidelines
    • Example 1: Your total project cost is $35k, you are only seeking $20k from AGMARDT. You must apply for $30k+ AIG.
    • Example 2: Your total project cost is $100k, you are asking AGMARDT for $30k – you must apply for a $30k+ AIG. You would also need to provide co-funding of $70k. The maximum amount that AGMARDT would consider funding your project for is $60k (of $100k).

Does applying for the <$30k grant preclude someone from applying for a larger grant later on?

  • No, in fact we would encourage this as a next step if early-stage work supported developing the idea further

If my application has been declined, is there a cool down period? How soon can I reapply?

  • There is a 12 month cool down period and applicants may resubmit after 12 months provided the project has changed significantly (modified/updated)
  • If you wish to reapply earlier than 12 months, please contact AGMARDT’s GM to discuss your specific circumstances to understand if a new application would be accepted by the trustees

Who is the “duly authorised person”?

  • The person filling in the application that AGMARDT will correspond with for the duration of the project

Does AGMARDT fund NPD pipeline research or changes to existing designs / products?

  • Early R&D is supported provided it’s in a new / novel area

Does AGMARDT support extension and delivery (knowledge transfer)?

Generally speaking, AGMARDT does not provide funding for this type of work. However, there are instances where this request may be successful:

  • Does it ignite the future (i.e. does it go beyond the here and now)?
  • Is it cross-sector (i.e. is not specific to one industry)?
  • Is it a new area (e.g. establishing a new system or taking a radical new approach)?

What should I avoid in my application / what doesn’t AGMARDT fund?

  • Capital expenditure (CAPEX) funding e.g. buildings, equipment, web-based products and services, etc
  • Operational funding unless someone is being paid to develop curriculum or commissioned to do specialised work
  • Retrospective funding (costs incurred before the project is approved by the board of trustees)
  • Focus on the here / now (incremental gains) with no link to the long-term future
  • Marketing / branding / comms unless it’s part of a larger innovation programme
  • Anything that can be perceived as ‘business as usual’ (BAU)
  • Projects outside the agribusiness sector
  • Duplicating existing work / reinventing the wheel
  • Duplication of funding assistance (note: applicants must disclose all third-party funding)

Do I need to undertake a market /economic evaluation? How should I answer this in my application?

  • Some applicant groups won’t have completed this work, particularly if they are conducting early concept tests. They would answer this application question in the negative
  • For others, particularly those applying for $30k+ grants some market work has usually been done e.g. identifying the size and scale of the opportunity and potential returns / impact for NZ’s food and fibres sector
  • As a rule of thumb, AGMARDT will expect a better understanding of the market from applicants in “stage 2” $30k+ grant applications vs “stage 1” <$30k grants applications

How should I respond to “evidence of market uptake of materials, industry input and benefit to the food and fibres industry”?

  • AGMARDT is looking to determine whether an idea has support by way of understanding what conversations have taken place and with who
  • The more specific you can be and the stronger the endorsement from others, particularly those within the targeted industry, the better

Who should I include as industry referees?

  • Reputable independents (i.e. people who are not part of your project team or AGMARDT trustees)
  • AGMARDT will be looking to understand referees’ perspectives regarding the level of support for your idea, you and your team
  • Your industry referees must be aware their names have been put forward

Why am I not able to include attachments with my application? Am I able to share supporting documents?

  • The GM and trustees read every application and as such all questions they are looking to have answered should be contained within that document
  • We encourage applicants to write clear, concise and focussed applications
  • If you still would like to provide supporting documentation, this can be sent to AGMARDT but there is no guarantee this information will be reviewed

Can I apply for AGMARDT funding to put towards a co-funding requirement for a larger application elsewhere?

  • The short answer is yes, sometimes we receive applications that request funding for a part of a project connected to a larger programme of work / application e.g. MPI’s Sustainable Food and Futures Fibres Fund
  • Please note, there should be no duplication of funding assistance – applicants must disclose all third-party funding